Euro 2020 Predictions: Can Mbappe lead France to another triumph?

James Sharman joins Tim and Friends to break down Euro 2020 and who are the favourites as the tournaments kicks off on Friday.

With Italy and Turkey set to finally get the 2020 UEFA European Championship underway on Friday after a year-long delay, we’ve turned to Sportsnet’s soccer experts for their predictions ahead of kickoff.

Reigning World Cup champions France and 2018 semifinalists England are co-favourites to lift the trophy on July 11. Are our experts leaning with the favourites, or is there another team capable of triumphing? Which team will be the tournament’s dark horse, and which team is most likely to disappoint?

Find out the predictions for those questions and more below.

From an ultra-competitive Group A headlined by Italy to a jam-packed Group F, otherwise known as the Group of Death, check out Sportsnet's comprehensive guides to each group at UEFA Euro 2020.

JAMES SHARMAN

Final four: Italy, France, Portugal, Netherlands
Winner: France defeats Portugal in final
Tournament top scorer: Kylian Mbappé, France
Breakout star to watch: Phil Foden, England
Biggest surprise team: Netherlands
Biggest flop team: Germany
Can’t-miss group stage match: Portugal vs. France, June 23

Storyline to watch: Kids. Youth will dominate what should be a wide open tournament. No longer are teenagers the exception as match-winners. There will be more than a couple of teens who become household names: Pedri, Foden, Musiala and company. The Mbappé’s of the world are now the established stars!

DONNOVAN BENNETT

Final four: France, England, Belgium, Italy
Winner: France
Tournament top scorer: Romelu Lukaku, Belgium
Breakout star to watch: Jérémy Doku (Belgium), Phil Foden (England)
Biggest surprise team: Wales
Biggest flop team: Spain
Can’t-miss group stage match: Portugal vs. France, June 23

Storyline to watch: Continental Tournament. There is no host country as Euro 2020 will hold matches in virtually all of Europe. Dublin pulled out due to COVID-19 concerns so that brings the number to 11 cities hosting during the tournament with the semifinals and final at Wembley in London. This means much more travel for fans and players alike, which is not only bad for the environment it could lead to bad, tired football. Most importantly, it’s unsafe given the various variants currently running rampant in Europe. Will Italy benefit from home-field advantage in Rome during group play? Will the legacy of these games be a Euro 2020 variant? Will this be the new model moving forward as bids to host major tournaments has dwindled over time? We’ll have to wait and see.

PETER GALINDO

Final four: Italy, France, England, Denmark
Winner: France defeats England 2-0 in the final
Tournament top scorer: Harry Kane, England
Breakout star to watch: Ryan Gravenberch, Netherlands
Biggest surprise team: Denmark
Biggest flop team: Germany
Can’t-miss group stage match: England vs. Scotland, June 18

Storyline to watch: Will fatigue affect the quality of Euro 2020? Considering these players have played matches every three or four days for the past 12 months, it wouldn’t be surprising if defensive solidity triumphed at this tournament. That’s why the “Group of Death” might not be as enthralling as we’re hoping for, because all of France, Germany and Portugal will be playing not to lose, rather than going for the jugular. That mindset would only increase in the knockout stage where one slip-up can end your hopes of becoming European champions.

JEFF BLAIR

Final four: France, Italy, Denmark, Portugal
Winner: France defeats Portugal in final
Tournament top scorer: Kylian Mbappé, France
Breakout star to watch: Nicolò Barella, Italy
Biggest surprise team: Denmark
Biggest flop: Germany
Can’t miss group stage match: Portugal vs. France, June 23

Storyline to watch: How much of the Three Lions’ guaranteed implosion gets blamed on England fans’ continually embarrassing booing when their team takes a knee before the match – and the players’ reaction. That, plus Germany’s woeful performance in Joachim Löw’s swan song. Auf Wiedersehen, Jogi!

JOHN MOLINARO

Final four: France, Italy, England, Netherlands
Winner: France defeats England in final
Tournament top scorer: Kylian Mbappé, France
Breakout star to watch: Phil Foden, England
Biggest surprise team: Turkey
Biggest flop team: Germany
Can’t-miss group stage match: Portugal vs. France, June 23

Storyline to watch: I’m always fascinated to watch who the young breakout players will be at each international tournament, and Euro 2020 is no exception. Phil Foden is coming off a sensational season for Manchester City, and it’ll be interesting to see if he can duplicate his club form for England. I suspect that the world is also about to discover what observers of Italian soccer already know: that Sassuolo’s Manuel Locatelli is an unheralded midfielder of sublime class and skill, and one of the best playmakers in the world.

DAN RICCIO

Final four: Italy, France, Spain, Germany
Winner: Italy defeats Spain in final
Tournament top scorer: Timo Werner, Germany
Breakout star to watch: Nicolò Barella, Italy
Biggest surprise team: Turkey
Biggest flop team: England
Can’t-miss group stage match: Portugal vs. France, June 23

Storyline to watch: After missing out on the 2018 World Cup, the Italians come back to the international stage with a new look and feel. This isn’t the park-the-bus Italy of old – manager Roberto Mancini has reinvented the Azzurri with a strength in midfield. This tournament will mark the rebirth of Italian football on the international stage.

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